Danish elections - New Government
We are happy to announce that the result of yesterday’s parliamentary elections in Denmark means that the right wing government of the last 10 years has finally been ousted. The Social Democrats and the Socialist Peoples Party (SF) will form a new government under the leadership of Helle Thorning-Schmidt, leader of the Social Democrats.
These elections are historical: For the first time a woman will be the Prime Minister of a Danish government. And for the first time SF will be in government.
Result of the Red-Green Alliance
The elections also mean that we, the Red-Green Alliance, increased our seats from 4 to 12, with 6.7% (up from 2.2%) of the votes.
Through out the election campaigns we stuck to a radical left position: a clear defense of the social rights of working people, against reducing and removing early retirement and raising pension age. We opposed the consistent deterioration of the rules regulating unemployment benefits, which were policies of the previous government. We argued thoroughly for a radical climate plan investing in new green jobs, and decent asylum and other policies relating to immigrants and refugees.
Although the electoral results can be described as a success for left wing Denmark, there are also drawbacks. First of all, it was a very narrow victory: The future government achieved merely 89 seats out of the 179 seats of the Danish "Folketing" (parliament), with the right wing parties at 86 seats. There are also 4 North Atlantic seats.
Second, the two main new government coalition partners both lost seats in the elections. - The Social Democrats one seat (now 44 seats and 24.9% of the votes, which is the worst election result in more than 100 years) and SF 7 seats (now 16 seats and 9.2% - down from 13%).
The Liberal Democrats
On the contrary, the centre opposition party "Radikale Venstre" (Liberal Democrats") gained 8 seats and are now represented with 17 seats (9.5% - up from 5.1%).
Both Red-Green Alliance and the Liberal Democrats are characterized with clear and unambiguous political lines of our campaigns, which seem to have attracted voters in big numbers. The Liberal Democrats share with us the same policies with regard to immigrants and refugees. This also indicates another consequence of these elections, which is that the extreme rightwing Danish People's Party is now reduced (down 3 seats to 22, and 12.3%) and their significant influence over Danish politics has been eliminated. The “immigrant” issue is not a strong part of the political debate any more.
However, the "Liberal democrats" are also a party with neo-liberal economic policies (very similar to those of the previous rightwing government) and they will expect to enter government with the Social Democrats and SF.
With our huge increase in seats the Red-Green Alliance will also demand a significant influence on the policies of the coming government. We have however always made clear that we do not wish to participate in a new alternative government, since we know that the policies of such a government will differ from our positions in crucial ways. Our party remains a party supporting an alternative government, led by the Social Democrats, and the formation of such a government will depend on our seats. We would have preferred a government consisting of only the Social Democrats and SF, but this option is not viable.
It is obvious from this and the election result in general that the conditions for forming the new government and agreeing on common policies will be difficult.
The right wing
Another drawback in the elections was the fact that "Venstre" (the Liberal party), the main right wing party of the previous coalition government, also kept its position as the largest Danish political party with 26.7% of the votes and 47 seats. It did however attract the votes of the Conservative Party, a previous coalition partner, who appears to be the biggest loser of the elections as this party lost over half of its seats (down to 8 seats from 18 and now only 4.9% of the votes). Besides this, a new neo-liberal party, Liberal Alliance, formed during the last parliamentary period, also had a good election result (5% and 9 seats up from 4) - but as well attracting votes from the Conservative Party.
Reasons and perspectives of our electoral success
We in the Red-Green Alliance expected to gain seats in these elections. We are however truly surprised that we achieved a tripling of our seats. This of course places a huge responsibility on our shoulders. We have advanced in nearly all of the constituencies in the country and in some places the advance is significant. This undoubtedly shows the level of anger and distress that the population has experienced with the policies of the right wing government, which have led to a deterioration of public welfare for so many people. Recently, figures have shown that the polarization of the Danish population with regard to income has increased more during the last 10 years than in any other EU member country.
Above all, we believe that the electoral results give reasons for optimism. 10 years of right wing governments are now over - and the Red-Green Alliance is more than ready to influence a new government with left wing policies.